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Sundown, Yellow Moon: A Novelby Larry Watson
Synopses & Reviews
Forty years after the suicide of his best friend’s father, a writer revisits the tragedy and tries to unravel the mystery behind one man’s inexplicable actions on that icy January day in 1961. Through his own recollections and his fiction–sometimes impossible to separate–he attempts to make sense of a senseless act and, in the process, to examine his youth, his connection to his best friend, Gene, and the enigma of Marie, a beautiful girl whose heart once belonged to both of them and whose spell still lingers through the decades.
Spare, haunting, lyrical, Sundown, Yellow Moon is a piercing study of love and betrayal, grief and desire, youth and remembrance. Larry Watson not only brings to life a distinct period in history but, most affectingly, reveals the interplay of memory, secrets, and the passage of time.
Praise for Sundown, Yellow Moon:
“Watson succeeds impressively, especially in deepening our understanding of first love.”
–Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune
“A marvelous evocation of a time and place and of high school existence when it was considerably less ferocious than it is today . . . [Sundown, Yellow Moon] twitches aside the curtain to reveal the menace and mendacity lurking behind placid and mundane lives.”
–Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[An] oddly heartbreaking story: allowed to run amok, the past becomes a monster capable of devouring the present.”
“Larry Watson takes the less-traveled roads, through landscapes and heartscapes vaguely familiar, intensely poetic and always jangling. . . . He has established himself as one of the leading poetic realists, painting his stories across the canvas of interiors: small-town America and the human heart.”
–San Jose Mercury News, on Orchard
One day in 1961, the father of the narrator's best friend had shot a state senator and then killed himself. Naturally, the question of why becomes the talk of the town, but it is much more than that for the narrator, in this piercing study of love and betrayal, grief and desire, youth and remembrance.
On an icy day in January 1961, in Bismarck, North Dakota, a sixteen-year-old boy walks home from high school with his best friend, Gene. The sudden sound of sirens startles and excites them, but they don’t have long to wonder what the sound could mean. Soon after seeing police cars parked on their street, the boys learn the shocking truth: hours before, Gene’s father, Raymond Stoddard, walked calmly and purposefully into the state capitol and shot to death a charismatic state senator. Raymond then drove home and hanged himself in his garage.
The horrific murder and suicide leave the community reeling. Speculation about Raymond’s motives run rampant. Political scandal, workplace corruption, financial ruin, adultery, and jealousy are all cited as possible catalysts. But in the end, the truth behind the day’s events died with those two men. And for Gene and his friend, the tragedy is a turning point, both in their lives and in their friendship.
Nearly forty years later, Gene’s friend, a writer, revisits the tragedy and tries to unravel the mystery behind one man’s inexplicable actions. Through his own recollections and his fiction–sometimes impossible to separate–he attempts to make sense of a senseless act and, in the process, to examine his youth, his friendship with Gene, and the love they both had for a beautiful girl named Marie.
Spare, haunting, lyrical, Sundown, Yellow Moon is a piercing study of love and betrayal, grief and desire, youth and remembrance. Using a brilliant, evocative fiction-within-fiction structure, Larry Watson not only brings to life a distinct period in history but, most affectingly, reveals the interplay of memory, secrets, and the passage of time.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Larry Watson is the author of In a Dark Time, Montana 1948, Justice, White Crosses, Laura, and Orchard. He has won the Milkweed Fiction Prize, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association Regional Award, and numerous other literary prizes. He lives with his wife in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
From the Hardcover edition.
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